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Wales giving blood, sweat and tears, reveals Jones

 

Alun Wyn Jones
Alun Wyn Jones

By Andrew Baldock

Alun Wyn Jones has highlighted Wales' intense preparations to face World Cup rivals Australia by revealing "there was a bit of red stuff flowing" in training.

Skipper Jones will become Wales' most-capped player when he leads his country against the Wallabies in Tokyo tomorrow.

Jones wins his 130th cap, breaking the record held by prop Gethin Jenkins, with Wales unchanged following a 43-14 victory over Georgia.

A win for Wales would put them in pole position to win their group and set up a potential quarter-final against France or Argentina.

But if the Wallabies claim a 14th triumph from their last 15 meetings with Wales, then Gatland's men could find themselves hurtling towards a last-eight appointment with England.

"There has been a few guys frustrated with selection, which is a good thing," Jones said. "That breeds competitiveness.

"There was a bit of red stuff flowing yesterday, which was all well-meant because it was for the betterment of the team.

"We have tried things (in the World Cup warm-up Tests) and we've held a bit back. We had rotation in the warm-up games and we came out of the blocks well, like we asked, against Georgia.

"We have got another opportunity. Gats has already said we perform when big games come around. We have a big Test in front of us and we won't shy away from that."

While Wales field the same team for tomorrow's Pool D showdown, Australia boss Michael Cheika has made four changes - and Gatland believes that is a sign of respect.

"That's how far we've come as a team over a number of years," Gatland said. "I don't think this was always the case with Wales. Teams probably wouldn't consider our attacking threats or any threats at all.

"To me, this is a sign of respect. We've got two great sides out there and hopefully it's a great game of rugby."

Centre Hadleigh Parkes and hooker Ken Owens, who both suffered knocks during the Georgia game, are among a starting XV featuring nine survivors from Wales' narrow win against Australia last November.

There are also further opportunities for prop Wyn Jones and flanker Aaron Wainwright after they made their World Cup debuts against Georgia.

Wales have not claimed a World Cup success against Australia since 1987, when they won a third-place play-off encounter 22-21 in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Gatland added: "We have not looked too far ahead. If you do get out of the group, the quarter-finals are going to be tough.

"It is about taking one game at a time and trying to build and create momentum. We feel as if we are capable of doing that.

"It is going to be a tough Australian team, but we have had some close battles and were good enough to get a win last time."

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